Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Paris Hopes For Settlement In Mistral Deal With Russia

Paris hopes to reach a settlement with Russia regarding the failed deal for the delivery of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers to the Russian Navy, Le Journal du Dimanche reported. 
"For France the Mistral contract is significant for both diplomatic and financial reasons. French authorities do not want to be perceived as swindlers unable to fulfil their obligations," the newspaper quoted a member of the French government familiar with the situation as saying.
Mistral-class helicopter carrier.
If France succeeds in reaching a settlement with Russia, Paris would be able to pay compensation and not a fine, the source added. The compensation could reach 50 percent of what Moscow paid. 
According to the source, France is ready to repay Moscow $875 million, as well as cover the expanses of sending Russian seamen to Saint-Nazaire, where the Mistrals were built. France is also allegedly willing to pay for the shipment of Russian equipment and platform installation in Russian ports.

Russian sailors stand in formation in front of the Mistral-class helicopter carrier Vladivostok at the STX Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard site in Saint-Nazaire.
The two Mistral ships, known as the Vladivostok and the Sevastopol, could be sold to a third party, the newspaper said, adding that NATO members are among potential buyers.

"However, … measures would be taken so that the helicopter carriers would not be sold to the countries in strained relations with Russia," a source told the newspaper, naming Georgia as one such nation that is unable to buy the Mistrals built for Russia. "Evidently the Kremlin would see this as a provocation," the newspaper said.

Earlier in May, rumors appeared that France was trying to sell the Mistral-class amphibious assault ship to China while two French warships were on a seven-day visit to Shanghai. Russia insists the ships cannot be sold without Moscow's permission. 
The Mistral-Class Helicopter Carrier.
Under a $1.3-billion deal Russia and France signed in 2011, Paris was supposed to deliver the Vladivostok in November 2014 and the Sevastopol in early 2015. None of the ships arrived to Russia, since the deliveries were put on hold over Moscow's alleged involvement in the Ukrainian civil war. Kremlin has repeatedly denied these groundless claims and pushed for peace in the war-torn nation.
Source: Sputnik

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